Minister Joe O’Brien announces €1 million funding to create 42 new Community Services Programme positions

Minister Joe O’Brien announces €1 million funding to create 42 new Community Services Programme positions
  • 32 organisations set to benefit from fresh investment
  • Programme aims to tackle disadvantage through a social enterprise model
  • Minister Joe O’Brien: “Organisations supported under the CSP provide a wealth of services to meet the needs of their communities”

Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Joe O’Brien TD, has today (TBC) announced funding for 42 additional positions under the Community Services Programme (CSP).

A total of 32 organisations across Ireland are set to benefit from the investment which will see approximately €1 million in additional funding allocated to the programme.

The CSP supports community-based organisations to provide local social, economic and environmental services through a social enterprise model.

It aims to tackle disadvantage by providing a co-funding contribution towards the cost of employing a manager and full-time equivalent (FTE) positions.

Today’s announcement follows a call for additional funding requests to existing CSP services, which took place in September 2023.

The investment results in an extra seven Managers and 35 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions being supported.

Announcing the newly funded positions today, Minister Joe O’Brien said:

“I am delighted to announce these additional posts for the Community Services Programme, and to extend the capacity of our CSP organisations to deliver vital services in our communities.”

Minister O’Brien added:

“The organisations supported under the Community Services Programme provide a wealth of services to meet the needs of their communities, while also providing local employment and contributing to sustainable, inclusive and empowered communities. I am committed to continuing to support these organisations and am delighted to announce the funding for these additional posts.”

The Community Services Programme has evolved over recent years, and in line with emerging priorities, a new needs-based differential funding model was introduced from January 2023.

An increase in the funding contributions to CSP organisations was announced in December 2023, to help CSP organisations to implement the increased national minimum wage for all staff.

The CSP contribution supports organisations to meet local service gaps and provide access to services and facilities that would potentially otherwise be unavailable.

There are currently 449 community based services supported by the CSP through 429 organisations throughout the country.

The full list is available here.

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established to promote rural and community development and to support vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities throughout Ireland.

Its focus is on strengthening community resilience and social cohesion, supporting communities so that they are empowered to face current and future challenges.

Community Services Programme

The Community Services Programme (CSP) currently supports community-based services to provide local social, economic and environmental services through a social enterprise model.

CSP provides an annual co-funding contribution towards each full-time equivalent (FTE) position being supported, and, where warranted, towards the cost of employing a manager. As of March 2024, there are 346 Managers and 1,702 FTE’s currently being supported under the programme.

2023 Call for Additional Funding Applications

In September 2023 an additional funding call was opened to existing CSP services to apply for additional funded positions. The purpose of the funding was to support existing CSP services with additional funded posts to enable expansion and growth within these hugely important social enterprises and community organisations. The call was open from 1st to 29th September. The call was valued at c €1 million. Pobal, who administer the programme on behalf of the Department, received a huge volume of applications and as a result not all organisations who applied were successful. Pobal will advise all applicants on the outcome of their application

Revised allocations

The CSP contribution is not aligned to the minimum wage and does not meet the full salary cost of supported posts, rather it is a fixed annual contribution towards the salary costs of managers and employees in supported organisations. The CSP contribution must be co-funded by the organisation concerned from other sources, for example, from income received from the public use of their facilities and services.

As part of a restructuring process completed in 2022, a new funding rate allocation model for the CSP programme was introduced in January 2023, as an alternative to the previous flat rate payment model. CSP organisations that are operating in areas of high disadvantage, employing individuals from the prescribed programme target groups and having limited earning potential benefitted from the higher funding rate category.

Given the impact the increase of €1.40 per hour to the minimum wage level announced as part of Budget 2024 is having on organisations supported under the CSP programme, the Department’s contribution to the CSP Funding Rates was increased in 2024 by €2,717 in the contribution per full-time equivalent to organisations having a high funding need and €2,142 to organisations categorised as having a medium funding need. An increased contribution of €1,500 towards the manager’s salary in the high category in 2024 and €1,000 for organisations in the medium category was also introduced.

There was no change in funding for the small number of organisations in the low funding category, these are organisations identified with the strongest earning potential and operating in less disadvantaged areas.

The 2024 revised allocations are outlined in the table below.

Overall RatingNew rate per FTENew rate per manager
High 8-10 (80% to 100%)€25,750€37,500
Medium 5-7 (50% to 79%)€23,175€35,000
Low 0-4 (0% to 49%) (no change)€19,033€32,000
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